Pedro Arantes

Reactive Planning Model

When a team starts a project without planning ahead, it's possible that the reactive planning model ensues.
Zettelkasten, June 6th, 2021.


  • When a team starts a project without planning, the reactive planning model may ensue.

  • David Allen defined this planning in his book Getting Things Done.

  • It's a system mental model because it helps you understand how a project's execution works without upfront planning.

  • The phases of the reactive planning model are:

    1. Identifying next actions
    2. Organizing
    3. Brainstorming
    4. Outcome visioning
    5. Defining purpose and principles
  • Such phases aren't the natural way your mind operates because you try to do actions before organizing, before collecting many ideas, before creating the vision before defining purposes.

  • The team reacts to the situation instead of controlling it.

    • When stuff gets out of control, they act, word harder, get busier.
    • When having a lot of busy people, someone says, "We need to get organized!"
    • After some time, just organizing the problem isn't enough, and someone suggests, "Let's brainstorm!".
    • But the brainstorming isn't effective because they don't have a clear vision, purpose, and principles. Finally, they ask, "What are we trying to do here?" and start defining the last phase.
  • The opposite of this model is the natural planning model.


  • Which scenarios may we observe the reactive planning model?


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